By Sophie Ryan, iSelect spokesperson.
If you’ve recently done a double-take after seeing just how much it cost to fill up your car with fuel, you’re certainly not alone. Perhaps it was at the checkout after doing your weekly grocery shop, or maybe you’re worried about rising electricity prices and that looming winter power bill.
As the cost-of-living continues to rise, many Australian households are under increased financial pressure and are looking for ways to cut back on spending. The EOFY is a good time to review your bills and expenses to find out if you could save money or find better value.
Private Health Insurance
June is one of the busiest times for private health insurance as many Australians are prompted to sign up for or review their policies.
One of the key drivers of this is the Medicare Levy Surcharge (or MLS). This is an additional tax higher-income earners (generally, singles with a taxable income above $90,000 or $180,000 for couples) pay in the next financial year, if they don’t hold an appropriate level of private hospital cover during the financial year.
If you’re a higher income earner, it’s a good idea to consider the MLS this month because there may be very little cost difference between the MLS and taking out private hospital cover, which could provide you with some future benefit in the next financial year.
Lifetime Health Cover (LHC) loading is also something to think about around this time of year.
If you’re young, fit and healthy it can be hard to justify the extra cost of health insurance, but if you don’t take out eligible hospital cover by July 1 following your 31st birthday, you may pay more if you do decide to take out private hospital cover later in life because of LHC.
Lastly (but certainly not least!) many health funds may offer deals and incentives to attract new customers around this time of the year, so now could be a good time to shop around and take advantage of the deals and offers! Remember though, a good deal doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest. Make sure the policy is still suited to you or your family’s needs.
Still feeling confused? A comparison service such as iSelect* has trained consultants who can try to help you understand how private health relates to MLS and LHC and compare your current policy against other options from iSelect’s range of policies and providers, to see if you could save money on your health insurance or see if there may be another policy better suited to your needs and budget.
Avoid winter energy bill shock
Winter has well and truly arrived, but we all lead such busy lives these days that it can be easy to forget those simple steps that can bring down the energy usage in your home. This can include turning off light switches, closing the curtains to keep warmth in and only heating the rooms you are using.
While it’s always a good idea to reduce how much energy you use, for some this alone may not necessarily reduce your energy bills as much as you might hope because a portion of your bill may be made up of network charges and other set fees.
That’s why making sure you are on a competitive energy plan is so important. Don’t set and forget this winter, review your energy plan and compare it to other options to see if you can save money.
Check your internet plan
Speaking of winter, many of us may be spending more time inside, streaming our favourite TV shows while cuddled up on the couch. Sound familiar? If you’re using more internet in the colder months, your internet data plan might not be suitable anymore. Consider reviewing it to ensure it still fits your needs this EOFY.
So with prices rising across the board, June is a great month to review all your household bills and expenses and there are our top tips to help you get started. Hopefully, you can start the new financial year off with a spring in your step and perhaps few extra dollars in your wallet. Something I’m sure we’d all appreciate during these tough times!
*iSelect does not compare all health insurance providers or policies in the market. The availability of policies will change from time to time. Not all policies available from its providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements, your stated needs and circumstances, not all policies compared by iSelect will be available to all customers. Some policies and special offers are available only from iSelect’s contact centre or website. To view iSelect range of providers, visit: www.iselect.com.au/partners